Food security is “having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food” (Oxford Dictionary).
Australian farmers are the backbone our country’s food security.
If a farm goes bust, that is less food grown for future generations, and it may mean land is available for other countries to purchase. Increasing foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land, shows that some countries are very serious about their food security.
The Gympie region has seen a massive reduction in dairy farms over the years. Despite this we can still buy locally produced and locally owned Cooloola Milk from the IGA and delicious Kenilworth Cheese – stocked at Rainbow Beach Meats. Other dairies in Goomborian also service our locality.
However in the southern states, the duopoly of supermarkets have caused heartache for our hardworking farmers:
“Basically what has happened is that two of the largest milk processing companies in Australia have cut their farm gate milk prices dramatically. They’ve done so in the middle of a contract year and so farmers that have spent money trying to make their enterprises more efficient are now in a stack of debt, because the companies are also trying to make them pay back the “extra” money that they were paid earlier in the year.
“These companies supply Coles and Woolworths with their “$1/L” milk. This milk is what is causing the farm gate prices to continuously drop, by buying “branded” milk, which is anything that does not have Coles or Woolworths written on the label, you are showing these companies that you value your farmers and they will be able to increase their farm gate prices…”
from Facebook: Dairy Farmers Need Your Help please
Many Australian dairy farmers have been struggling under the burden of increased debt levels, and suicide rates in our farming industries are twice that in the general population in Queensland. Mental health issues are compounded out west for our farmers by the drought.
“The dairy industry believes that future food supply is tied to the ongoing viability of food industries. Food businesses along the supply chain must be both profitable and sustainable in the long term to ensure Australians continue to have access to a nutritious, secure food supply.” The Agricultural Competitiveness Issues Paper ADI response
Living on the coast it may seem like there is not much we can do.
But there is. Buy local. Buy Australia made and owned products.
Don’t just restrict it to milk and dairy. Know where your eggs are from, buy our beautiful Cooloola fish and seafood, meat from the Fitzgerald’s farm ‘Cooloola’ in Proston, read labels, and ask at shops and the market – where does this come from?